Sanctuary Retirement Living’s Middleton House, in Cheltenham, is home to former footballer and Olympian, Ron, who had a hand in kickstarting the career of Sir Alex Ferguson. As part of Starts at Home Day 2021, he has shared his story.

Resident Ronald McKinven

Scotsman Ron, now 85, has lived at Middleton House since it opened in 2014 – and he even cut the ribbon during the official opening ceremony, alongside the Mayor.

Ron has led a very interesting and varied life – prior to moving into Middleton House, he lived in Qatar, and he still has family living in Dubai, whom he visits as often as he can. In his younger days, Ron was a keen sportsman, who represented Great Britain in all three of its football games at the 1960 Rome Olympics, playing Brazil, China and the hosts, Italy.  

Whilst at the Olympic Games, Ron found himself mixing with many famous athletes. Once, when he was a spectator at an Olympic basketball match, he found his view was blocked by a very tall man. After tapping him on the shoulder to ask if he would mind moving, he quickly realised it was Muhammed Ali!

As a Scottish amateur international wing-half, Ron played for a number of Scottish clubs, including Queen’s Park and Stirling Albion. During his time as captain for St Johnstone FC, Ron took under his wing a young player called Alex Ferguson, who later famously became one of the greatest managers of all time, at the helm of Manchester United.

Ron eventually retired from his sporting life in 1966, after making over 250 appearances in the Scottish Football League, to continue his career as an interior designer and architect. He was later inducted into St Johnstone’s Hall of Fame, in 2016.

These days, Ron can often be found relaxing in his apartment, where he likes watching sport on television, or enjoying a freshly-cooked meal in the service’s Taste restaurant. The retirement community’s onsite care team are on-hand to provide any personalised support he needs, which helps him to maintain his independence and enjoy spending his retirement in his own home.

While his memory isn’t what it once was, Ron often regales the other residents and the Middleton House team with tales from his footballing days, and proudly displays his football memorabilia and Olympic medal. Every year, Ron also takes a lead role in the retirement service’s Burn’s Night celebrations, as a nod to his Scottish heritage, when he gives the traditional address to the haggis.

I’m very happy to call Middleton House my home.

Ron says: “I’m very happy to call Middleton House my home. My apartment is peaceful, and it has a lovely view out over Leckhampton Hill. The staff here are friendly and always available if I need them.”

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